The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0234 Friday, 15 May 2009
Date: Wednesday, 13 May 2009 13:27:56 -0400
Subject: 20.0228 Gary Taylor's Cardenio
Comment: Re: SHK 20.0228 Gary Taylor's Cardenio
I don't think anyone here quibbles with Arnie Pearlstein's position that
the attribution of The Second Maiden's Tragedy should be independent of
the general "authorship controversy." There is quite a bit of serious
work being done by Stratfordians on the attribution of apocryphal plays
without the imputation of heterodoxy. Otherwise, Edward III would be
excluded without consideration and Mac Jackson's attribution of portions
of Arden of Faversham to Shakespeare would be rejected out of hand. It
is a classic fallacy to argue against an hypothesis by contending that
it bears some resemblance to an entirely different but less respectable
view, and I hope no one here would advance such a position.
That said, the main problem I find in Arnie's argument is in its
assumption that the attribution of TSMT has not been considered closely.
It has been; and Hamilton's attribution to WS has been rejected
universally. For example, as was pointed out in the earlier posts, Eliot
and Valenza applied the same meticulous stylometric analysis to this
play as they did to the rest of the apocrypha and dubitanda, and found
that it was so foreign to Shakespeare as to reside in another literary
Most of what I would say in response to Arnie was already said in my
earlier post, so I shall not belabor it again. But I do need to respond
to one point he makes in response to something I said:
> when I read the following critique . . . .
>"Then, in V.i, there are five killings within the space of twenty-five
> . . . my first thought is that a similarly dense textual
>climactic killings (Laertes, Gertrude, Claudius and Hamlet) has never
>considered a defect in that other play which we all know and love so
If Arnie goes back to what I said he will find that I was not making a
point that rapid-fire killings are foreign to Shakespeare. Instead, I
was pointing out that such events are not hallmarks of romances.
Hamilton argued that TSMT was a romance, akin to Pericles, Cymbeline,
Winter's Tale and The Tempest, so it fit in the last period of
Shakespeare's career, when Cardenio was supposedly written. The one
thing TSMT is not is a romance.
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